Please ignore the fact that this story makes absolutely NO canonical sense WHATSOEVER. AU. Romance (Go me, go me! I wrote romance!!! With a...PLOT and everything! Too goooood.) is not meant to be logical. SO THERE. Oh...OOCishness.

Hurt/Comfort fic. Femslash Fleur/Hermione. Oneshot.

Dedicated to my lovely friend DEMOKA, because she did one for me, and because I said I would...anyway, enjoy!...hopefully. 3

Crookshanks had been missing for three days, and Hermione was searching the school frantically for her. While it wasn't unusual for the eccentric ginger cat to wander about the school for days, and even spend a night with the owls, she had been gone far too long to be simply wandering.

Hermione wandered if perhaps one of the visiting students had perhaps picked her up, but considering that the Durmstrang boys were sleeping in a ship, and the Beauxbaton girls were almost never in Hogwarts grounds (they seemed to prefer Hogsmeade), she doubted it. In any case, she asked every student she encountered if they had seen Crookshanks, Hogwarts student or no.

Desperately worried, she charged Harry and Ron with the duty of scouring the Boy's Common room and male toilets, which they acquiesced to half-heartedly. (I wouldn't even bother looking for that dirty, ugly mug of a cat...Well Ronald, I think considering that YOUR choice in pets was a blood traitor, I wouldn't be speaking. Now GO!) At least from Harry, she had wrung an earnest promise to at least look properly.

She had checked to common room, the dining room, even the dungeons and Hagrid's Hut, but Crookshanks was not in any of those places. She only hoped that the poor cat hadn't wandered into the Forbidden Forest.

She methodically worked upwards; since she had checked the grounds and dungeons, she worked up through every classroom, the library, the owlery, and eventually came to the pinnacle of the school, exhausted and distraught. She had rarely set foot in the Astronomy Tower since Third Year, but grimly determined to face even the horrid and eccentric Professor Trelawney if she must, she entered.

She combed the room with her eyes, but saw no sign of her cat; the only thing unusual in the room was Fleur Delacour, who faced outside, gazing out the window and surveying the landscape.

She hesitated for a moment, recalling several instances in which Fleur stood surrounded by a cluster of befuddled and infatuated males, almost drooling over her. It wasn't so much that she disliked the girl as that she found the whole "beautiful sexy girl surrounded by adoring males" slightly distasteful. She couldn't help but consider the situation as propitiating gender roles, as there were no male Veela; it was a genetic trait passed down through the line of the female. Although the Veela were matriarchal, it was demeaning to be compared to their unearthly beauty.

Especially when Ron had, at one point, suggested that he would pay more attention to her if she looked like that, at which point she stormed out until he apologised a few days later. She had been angrier at the idea of being expected to pander to males' aesthetic appreciation than what he had actually said, although it had been rude and inconsiderate.

In any case, she shook the thoughts out of her head; Crookshanks was the matter at hand.

"Fleur? Have you by any chance - " Hermione began, when Fleur turned around, with one ugly, lazy cat nestled in her arms. Hermione gasped. "Crookshanks! There you are! I've been worried sick about you! Fleur, oh my god, thank you, where did you find her?!?" Hermione exclaimed.

"Ah, so 'zis is your cat? I 'ave been looking after 'er for a few days. 'Zere you are, I am so glad to find 'er owner – I am glad she is not a stray, like I first considered," Fleur said as she transferred Crookshanks to Hermione, smiling. "Bien, bien – I discovered 'er on 'ze far side of 'ze lake 'ze ozer day, and I 'ave been taking good care of 'er since 'zen."

Looking up into the other girl's sweet smile made her reconsider her previous disinclination to make an effort to know her; she seemed to be a lovely person once you got to know her. There was an awkward pause as they both wondered what to say next.

"Ah – it iz, 'ow do you say it - 'Ermione, iz it non?"

"Yes, yes it is," Hermione was surprised that the other girl knew her name.

"Well, 'Ermione, I 'ope we see more of each ozer from now on – it was nice to meet you," Fleur concluded, exiting with a pleasant smile. Hermione spent the day feeling decidedly happier than usual.

However, it all turned to sick disgust a fortnight later, at breakfast.

The visiting students were meant to leave the next day, and Hermione, being the fairly practical person she was, refused to remain in denial about her growing fondness for Fleur Delacour. While the other Beauxbaton girls continued to invite Fleur out to Hogsmeade with them, Fleur tended to stray to the library fairly regularly. It was a sight to see her dodging her besotted male escort in order to pass a few minutes with Hermione, asking her cursory questions about the books she read, the work she did. She was surprisingly insightful in her remarks and observations, and Hermione blushed to think that she had once considered the other girl to be...well...silly.

She even spent the Quidditch game (Hufflepuffs and Durmstrang, not a promising game anyway) sitting with her in the library, just talking about their lives, her heritage and what she thought of the whole Veela thing. She was surprised to learn both that a Veela could not 'turn off' that undercurrent of attraction ("Oh 'Ermione, if you want all of 'zese silly boys, 'zen take 'zem, take 'zem all away from me!"), and that they could concentrate it to target specifically. Which raised interesting moral dilemmas, a conversation that wound slowly into the night. They almost missed dinner.

She had giggled to herself then, remembering back to a time when she was younger, and it was Viktor Krum courting her in the Library. Not that she was being courted, of course. At the end of a fortnight, and it looked more like she would have to do some courting. It seemed strange, at first, a girl and a girl. But Hermione had always known that her emphasis would always be personality, and Fleur had admitted to dating a girl before.

"Oh Merlin – look at that!" Seamus Finnegan whispered urgently.

Hermione turned around, and what she saw made her stomach lurch painfully. Whispering mounted deafeningly in the Great Hall, as one by one people noticed the pair entering the hall, holding hands. Fleur Delacour and Draco Malfoy. Hermione blanched, and turned away. Already rumours were running wild, with theories as wild and diverse as Draco having saved her life over the Christmas holidays, or that the pair had been arranged to be married at birth. Fleur Malfoy. The idea sickened Hermione.

However, she supposed harshly that it had nothing to with her anymore. Still she couldn't study for the rest of the day.

"'Ermione! I could not find you at all today, you were not in ze library all of today, or at lunch as usual!" Fleur asked in a concerned tone. Hermione instantly regretted leaving the safety of the Gryffindor Common Room, for the quieter, soothing Library.

"Um, yeah...I was busy."

"Well, I suppose you, like everyone else, would like to know about Draco and myself?" Fleur gave a little scoffing laugh, "'Zat has been all anyone has asked me about today."

Hermione felt a rush of anger at Fleur, who was acting exactly as Hermione had once supposed she would, in ignorance. Knowing what she knew about the girl now, her behaviour confused and irritated her. She was not jealous.

"Not really, no Fleur. And if you'll excuse me, I have an essay I would like to finish for Charms," Hermione snapped. Fleur was taken aback by her behaviour, and secretly wondered if Hermione had caught onto the fact that she had a crush on her. Lost for words, she blushed a little and turned away. Hermione pretended to ignore her, and at length, Fleur left, bewildered and disappointed.

Hermione threw down her quill at a quarter past nine. She was distracted to the point of utter uselessness in terms of work. She could feel Fleur's unhappy frown still, long after she'd left the library. Packing up her things, she began makin her way up to the dormitory.

She heard a cry, a way off in front of her as she walked down a corridor. She turned her head sharply, feeling a tingle up her spine. Perhaps she had just imagined it. Shaking her head softly, she walked onward.

"No!" a shriek came directly down the hall. A couple of cries followed. Hermione sped up her pace, drawing out her wand. The noise was coming from around the corner. A thump, and a groan. Hermione rounded the corner directly and saw the shape of a guy assaulting – FLEUR! in the hallway a ways off. The male had forced her against a wall, and the Fleur was struggling against him.

"Hey!" Hermione cried out, arresting his attention. He looked up at her. Even from afar, she could tell who it was. Malfoy. He looked furious, and drew his wand from his robes automatically. Hermione had a split second to react.

"Expelliarmus!" she yelled. The wand flew from Draco's hand, landing a good number of yards away from him. Hermione wracked her mind for an appropriate hex.

"Petrificu-" Hermione shouted, but the slimy coward was already racing down the hall in the opposite direction, seeing himself unarmed. She waited a moment with her wand poised at his receding back, before lowering it.

Catching her breath, she turned to face the other girl, who was now sitting with her back against the wall, hugging herself. Hermione stiffened, recalling the events of the day. Yet her anxiety overwhelmed her, and she walked over quietly, kneeling down to face her.

"That was – Draco. What – what happened?" Hermione asked gently. Fleur raised her head to face her, tired and frowning.

"Yes, sometimes 'ee gets a little overzealous," Fleur replied hoarsely, putting on a weak smile. Hermione was shocked that she could smile at such a terrible event. She was of a mind to go immediately to Dumbledore and report the offender personally. It was an atrocity that any person should be subjected to that kind of thing. Fleur's smile twisted bitterly, she looked very sad for a moment, turning away. Hermione's anger swelled, and she stood, making up her mind to see that Malfoy received his due. Fleur saw it in her face.

"No, ''Ermione – don't. 'Iz family iz very powerful, and I would not like to see you being targeted by 'zem. No, I shall 'ave to deal with 'zis myself, and you must not defend me. But thank you so much for 'elping me just zen, truly. Perhaps if it does not bother you too much, you could accompany me back to my room?"Fleur looked exhausted and drained.

"Of course," Hermione said after a pause, filing away her outrage for later.

"Thank you so much 'Ermione. You are so very kind to me."

They walked up a few flights of stairs to a familiar location. The Room of Requirement was truly a magical room, or set of rooms, as it currently appeared to be. Lavish periwinkle drapery filled the hallway connecting a small but neat set of bedrooms, and Fleur stopped outside a small door that led to her very own room. It was even furnished with their own paintings, who smiled and spoke softly to each other in a French murmur.

Fleur's room was compact, but included her own small bathroom, bed and dresser, all shades of blue or white. Fleur went directly to the bathroom and splashed some water on her face, before drying it with a towel. Hermione stood awkwardly in the doorway, wondering if she should leave, when Fleur turned around, smiling wanly.

"Well 'Ermione, aren't you going to come in? I'll just be a moment – oh, I 'ave a nightgown in my top dresser, would you mind getting it for me?" Fleur asked.

"Of course!" Hermione replied, moving inside the suite to the dresser.

"It iz in 'ze second drawer!" Fleur called. Hermione pulled out the drawer and felt her cheeks redden. She couldn't see a nightgown at all, only several sets of lingerie, a mix of frills, satin, and lace.

"Um...what does it look like? Fleur?" Hermione called back, embarrassed.

"Ah, it is ah, white and long," Fleur replied. Hermione scanned the contents of the drawer and caught a glimpse of white near the bottom. She blushed deeply as she plucked out the item of clothing. It was long, and white – and silky. It felt soft and smooth in her hand. Closing the draw with a little too quickly, she went over to the bathroom and handed the nightgown to Fleur, who smiled gratefully.

"Ah, well, I'm not sure if you want me to be here anymore..." Hermione began, trailing off as she caught a glimpse of the edge of a nasty bruise just under Fleur's collar, which she had just unbuttoned. Hermione's eyes widened, and Fleur, noticing Hermione's gaze, paled and lifted her hand to cover the bruise.

"Did – did that come from Malfoy?" Hermione asked, appalled. Fleur didn't answer, only half closed the door in a jerky movement, turning away. A moment later Hermione caught a glimpse of a tear running down Fleur's soft cheek. She was torn between her fury and her sudden wish to kiss the other girl and brush the tear from her face.

"Fleur, I know I said I didn't want to know before, but I do now; why are you dating Draco Malfoy?" Hermione questioned. Fleur was silent for a few minutes, before breaking down into sobs. Horrified, Hermione knelt down and enfolded her in her arms, caressing her slowly. At length the other girl quietened, and leaned her head on Hermione's arm.

"I – I am not fond of 'im. But I came upon 'im ze ozer day with is friends, and they 'ad my little sister xyz, and she was crying. I asked 'er what 'ad 'appened, and she told me zat zese boys were giving 'er trouble – she 'ad accidentally caught 'zem up in 'er charm, and zey 'ad felt humiliated by their own attentions towards 'er. I tried to explain to zem zat she 'ad meant no 'arm, but zey were intent on getting their revenge. Draco in particular. 'Ee was, as you say, ze ringleader. I asked 'im if zere was any way in which to settle 'zis dispute amicably, as we are taught to do; many of zese situations occur amongst my kind. And 'ee thought it might be, profitable for 'is reputation if 'ee was seen dating me," Fleur told Hermione.

"But why did you accept, instead of bringing it to the teachers?" Hermione whispered, perturbed. Fleur gave her a bitter shrug and smile.

"It did not seem like such a big thing at ze time -'ee is one of zose types of boys, 'ow do you say, ah, like a vain little peacock, who merely wants to be admired. And of course, 'is family is powerful, and I did want to keep zis whole thing as quiet as possible. It was only a few days, at most. 'Owever, 'is actions 'ave ruled that out. It began last night, when 'ee tried to grope me and I pulled away. Zen again later, much of ze same thing – only when you saved me tonight was 'ee at 'is worst. I am not sure what exactly to do now, although it seems to me as though I will be leaving tomorrow anyway. If nothing else, I would not like you to become involved, ma cherie," Fleur replied. Fleur looked down again, letting the tears fall silently into her arms.

Hermione's hand moved as if detached from her; as if in a dream. Her thumb caressed Fleur's cheek, and the other girl looked up slowly, surprised. The tear-stains and red eyes were still evident, and Hermione felt an irresistible urge to kiss her until she could see her beautiful smile again. Unthinking, she leaned in.

In a moment, their lips met, soft and tentative. Hermione's hand came up to brush a stray wisp of hair from Fleur's face, while Fleur's hand traveled up around her neck. Their lips parted, and their tongues met in a tender swirl. Hermione pulled away first, surprised at her own actions.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, "I - I don't know what came over me."

"Well, I am not half so sorry, ma cherie – I quite enjoyed 'zat, to say 'ze least," Fleur replied softly. Fleur gazed deeply into the other girl's eyes, an uncertain little smiling lighting up her face. This time it was Fleur who initiated the kiss, her tongue tracing her bottom lip and taking a playful dive into her mouth, moaning. They kissed for a couple of long minutes before breaking apart, dazed and starry eyed.

Hermione's head cleared a little, and she gasped.

"I should get back to my dormitory, it's past curfew!" Hermione exclaimed.

"M'amour, please, stay for ze night. It iz my last 'ere, and I would like very much to spend it with you," Fleur asked softly. Hermione was torn for a while, but eventually succumbed to the butterfly kisses Fleur was placing from her jaw to her shoulder, as she moved the other girl's robes out of the way. They made their way slowly to Fleur bed, littering the floor with items of clothing along the way.

Sliding into the periwinkle bed, they forgot both of their troubles as the night stretched out into the darkness.

Hermione slowly moved the other girl's arm from around her waist. Fleur was still fast a sleep. She fetched her clothes silently, trying not to wake the other girl up. It was not that early in the morning, by sneaking out standards. 6am, to be exact. However, she knew two important pieces of information; Fleur was a late sleeper, and Dumbledore was not.

Harry and Ron woke up just in time for breakfast. They raced down there, expecting to see a packed Hall, as all the guest students were scheduled to leave at 12pm, and everyone would want to say their farewells.

However, when they arrived down there, several people were missing. Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape and Madame Maxime were all missing, a curious absence. And Hermione.

"Hey Ginny, have you seen Hermione this morning?" Ron asked his sister. She shook her head.

"No. She didn't come in last night at all – I was wondering if any of you had seen her lately," Ginny replied, becoming concerned. Harry and Ron started to worry, and went back up to their dorm, fetching out the Marauder's Map. It told a curious story; Malfoy was holed up in Dumbledore's office with all of the missing staff. Dumbledore was pacing.

"Hey, look at that Ron, looks like Malfoy's getting it good. Dumbledore's even pacing," Harry laughed, pointing it out.

"Well, the slimy git deserves it. Wonder what he's done. Must've been serious, by the looks of it," Ron smiled, "But where's Hermione?"

It took them a while to find her. And when they did they couldn't believe their eyes. They just sat on their beds and gaped at the Map like a pair of fools.

She felt a wrench in her heart as she watched Fleur step into the light blue carriage that was about to take her across borders. Fleur's silky hand slipped out of hers, and the carriage doors closed. She was one of surprisingly few people watching the Beauxbatons students leaving. Apparently most people were celebrating their last moments with the Durmstrang students aboard their ship; upon which a lot of Vodka was rumoured to be circulating.

Hagrid waved his flight batons, and the carriages were off in a flurry of hooves pounding down on hard cobblestones. Soon they were a speck in the sky. Hermione stood for a while, waving, before unraveling the sliver of parchment Fleur had left in her hand as she had departed.

Je t'aime, and I miss you already...

A simple message, in Fleur's elegant script. Hermione watched until the dots disappeared into the horizon before she left, smiling in anticipation of the holidays. you know I am the queen of sap. Wow. Be gentle, that was my first HG/FD ever. Melodramatic at all? I didn't know what the hell I was doing. Anyway...yeah. --;;. And Fleur is...unintelligible. I made her accent...thick at the start, better, then terrible when she's upset.

Cheers, DeMoKa 3